*EDITORS NOTE: This was originally sent out as two individual devotional thoughts. They have been combined for the sake of continuity.
My Feet Almost Slipped (Psalm 73)
There are two reasons Christians’ feet almost slip—or backslide: First, they begin to envy the world. You know like; “Dad, little Johnny gets to stay out until midnight, why can’t I?” Well, son—God would say—because little Johnny is not my son and you have to follow my rules and not little Johnny’s rules. Or, Pastor, is it okay for me to go to the clubs once a week? And I will say, if you want to spend the rest of your life with a broken fellowship with God—sure, go ahead. (2) Christians’ feet begin to slip when they start walking by sight instead of walking by faith. Listen to the psalmist: “My feet almost slipped when I SAW the prosperity of the wicked.”
The Bible tells us that we walk by faith, not by sight. But whenever we put our eyes on the world, we are walking by sight instead of walking by faith.
Yesterday we mentioned one reason that makes Christians “almost slip.” There are two aspects that explain the “almost slip” commentary by the psalmist: (1) Christians almost slip when we begin to envy what we perceive are the world’s “blessings.” You know, when we develop the desire to continue enjoying the things of the world after we have made a promise to the Lord that we are dedicated only to Him [something is wrong]. (2) Our feet can slip when we start walking by sight and not by faith. Every time we compare our lives, our successes, our failures, our struggles, etc. with the world, we are walking by sight. Whenever we SEE the world “prospering” we ENVY them. One of the most important lessons we can learn is to realize that the world has NOTHING to offer us—NOTHING.
Our second [way of slipping], following yesterday’s discussion, is that some Christians fail to understand that we are functioning under a different set of rules from the rest of the world. This means that while the world can lie, cheat, and steal, we cannot. The world can blaspheme God, but we cannot. The world can function in hatred and revenge, but we operate in forgiveness and love. Our rules come from God’s Kingdom. Their rules come from Satan’s kingdom. If you belong to God’s Kingdom, you cannot be wishing to live under the rules of Satan’s kingdom.
Example: After God had rescued the people of Israel from the Egyptian bondage they began to desire the “pleasures” of Egypt—which represents the kingdom of Satan. The Bible says that, “After 400 years God heard the cry of the people of Israel in Egypt.” After they received their freedom they began to crave the routine that slavery provided. They were willing to surrender their new freedom for the “safety” of captivity. In freedom they did not always know what was next. In captivity, someone else was making their decisions for them. They did not need to take responsibility for their lives.
This is what is interesting about this—God did not send them back to Egypt, but allowed them to wander in the desert for forty years. It took that long to get their minds away from their slavery mentality. They left Egypt, but Egypt never left them. This is the same with Christians today. They leave the world, but the world never leaves them. Thus, they ask, “Can I be a Christian and still enjoy the temporary pleasures of the world?” You can enjoy the temporary pleasures of the world, if you want to spend the rest of your life wandering in the desert without direction, purpose, or hope of entrance into the Promised Land—that is, without ever finding God’s rest for your life and experiencing the joy of salvation for your life. The Red Sea was not just an event. It was also a metaphor.
This is the metaphor: God saved them from bondage—Jesus has saved us from the bondage of sin. God led them through the Red Sea. Jesus has washed our sins away with His blood. After they had crossed the Red Sea, the water closed back again behind them. We have passed from death unto life. The closing of the Red Sea meant that they could not go back. There was no access back to Egypt. Once we have received Christ we cannot go back because Jesus said: “I did not lose none of the ones you gave me.” Rejoice: you are now in the desert on the way to the Promise Land and Egypt has nothing to offer us.